A blast of urban gaming

We couldn’t help noticing that things have gone a little quiet on the ARG and Urban Gaming front of late so it was a relief when an invite to Blast Theory’s recent immersive gaming production ‘A Machine To See With’ dropped into our inbox the other day.

The new “one-of-a-kind cinematic experience” from Blast Theory (the very clever people behind the seminal Uncle Roy is All Around You? ARG) made its debut at the start of the year at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and is now set for an appearance at the Banff Summer Arts Festival in Canada.

The game itself has a fairly simple, yet compulsive, premise. After setting up your mobile device online, you are instructed to wait at a street corner where a solitary voice will lead you through the city and into a 45 minute heist movie in which you must deal with a bank robbery and its aftermath.

The ARG is based primarily on suggestion, as opposed to the frantic running about we saw ten years ago when these types of games first surfaced, with Blast Theory focusing in on the creating an immersive experience that manipulates a participants perception of the world they are used to.

Brands have dabbled with ARG style campaigns, but often steer clear due to the high level of buy in required and the limited audience that can take part at any given time. Stella Artois is a notable exception here, with both The Night Chauffeur and the upcoming Black Diamond productions - in association with theatre group Punchdrunk - showcasing that there is plenty of new life left in the medium.

'A Machine to See With' will be debuting in the UK at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 24th August and also at the Brighton Digital Festival in September.

A Machine To See With, Banff from Blast Theory on Vimeo.

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